Pet Peeves (Yes, Again!)
I've written about pet peeves often. So many times in fact that you'd think I would have run out of things to be peevish about by now. But no. New irritations keep popping up. Maybe I'm just becoming more peeve-prone as I grow older — which is one of my new pet peeves.
Moleskine notebook by Pava; Wikimedia Commons
Getting old. I absolutely hate it. There is nothing positive about the so-called golden years. Even all the senior discounts can't begin to compensate for all the disadvantages — the aches and pains, the wrinkles, the unflattering shoes my bunions force me to wear, the fact that all the names in my little black book have 'M.D.' after them, the fact that I still have a little black book because I can't figure out how the calendar on my smart phone works.
But at least I do have a smart phone. Even though I don't really know how to use most of its features, just pulling it out impresses the heck out of people. "Oh, look at you!" they gush patronizingly, apparently amazed that someone my age owns such a high-tech marvel. They wouldn't be more astounded if an infant suddenly flung her pacifier across the room and started reciting Hamlet's soliloquy.
Another downside of getting older is the increasing number of visits to all those doctors in my little black book. You know the drill. You show up on time for your 10:00 AM appointment and are instructed to take a seat in the waiting room where you can watch reruns of The Price is Right on TV or rifle through six-month-old issues of People featuring stories of celebrities and the spouses they have long-since shed. At 11:10, when your derriere has become numb from sitting, a nurse finally comes to summon you. "Thank heaven!" you think, as you follow her into a small examining room where she takes your now-elevated blood pressure, tells you a huge lie ("The doctor will be right with you.") and leaves, shutting the door behind her. Usually that is the last human contact you will have for at least 45 minutes. Eventually the doctor does arrive. But she's running late (no kidding!). She has time for only a very brief, cursory examination and no time at all to answer questions. You'll have to make another appointment for that.
Next on my list of peeves are mail order catalogs, whose number increases daily. I found a website that's supposed to honor catalog cancellation requests. In the last few months, I have supposedly cancelled 48 catalogs. I'm still receiving all of them a couple of times monthly, in addition to several new ones every week from companies I've never heard of. I haven't ordered anything from a catalog in ages, because I'm convinced that whenever I do, my name and address are sold to dozens of other purveyors of an eclectic mix of stuff in which I have zero interest. And yet new catalogs spill out of my mailbox daily and go directly to my trash bin unopened (along with the deluge of charity solicitations which are also increasing exponentially). I grieve for the rain forests being destroyed to feed the printers of all this rubbish.
Equally annoying are all the glossy high-fashion magazines I receive. Why? Did I ever actually subscribe to any of them? Maybe. Especially if they offered a free tote bag with a new subscription. Again, why? I seem to have an obsession with tote bags. My closets are cluttered with more than I’ll ever use in my lifetime. Yet I can never resist the offer of a new one, even though it means subscribing to yet another high fashion magazine.
You know the ones I mean — the thick, glossy tomes where you need a Table of Contents to find the Table of Contents because it's buried in page after page of outlandish ads for products that are unidentifiable: A full-page close-up of a face … a model wearing a lace dress and combat boots with long, dangling untied laces … a woman in a multi-color, horizontally-striped dress, a huge floral pocketbook; sky-high — heeled shoes and polka-dotted ankle socks… And even though each of those full-page ads undoubtedly cost more than I paid for my condo, none of them have any product-identifying copy or any other obvious hint about what we're being enticed to buy. It can't be hair care stuff because all the women pictured look as though their spiked, disheveled tresses had been cut with a lawn mower and hadn't been conditioned — or even washed — in a millennium.
Even more ridiculous are the photo ads with captions identifying locations; i.e., photographed at Machu Pichu, Copacabana Beach, the Great Pyramids of Giza, or countless other exotic locations. Can you imagine how much it costs to transport models, crew, and photographers with their expensive equipment to these sites? Yet, the backgrounds are so out-of-focus and blurred, the pictures could well have been taken at any Walmart parking lot with a cell phone camera.
As for those ads for frayed, holey jeans, don't get me started!
And how about Julie Andrews? Yes, I used to love her, too; but that was before she and her daughter (along with dozens of other celebrities) started writing children's books and getting free promotional appearances on all the network talk and variety shows. They don't need the publicity — I do! But because I never pranced on an Alp proclaiming it was alive with the sound of music, I have a file drawer full of unpromoted, unsold manuscripts.
Enough! I'm beginning to sound like one of those cranky old women I can't stand. They're one of my pet peeves.
Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book is Confessions of a Domestically-Challenged Homemaker & Other Tall Tales, available at Amazon.com and other online book sellers. Grandmother Goose: Rhymes for a Second Childhood is available as an e-book on Amazon.com for the Kindle and at BarnesandNoble.com for the Nook at $2.99; the paperback edition is available for $9.95. Her books of humorous essays, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, and If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun can also be ordered at Amazon.com or through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724). Her website is rosemadelinemula.com.
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